Your resume is important. There’s no doubt about that. If you screw it up, it’s likely to be left in the reject pile and you’ll never get that all important interview that gives you a chance to really show employers why you are the best person for the job.
If you want to make sure that your resume is effective, you need to put the time into creating a rock solid resume. Put some effort into it. Treat it as seriously as employers do because if you don’t, getting a job is going to be very hard.
Below are some of the biggest resume blunders to avoid.
Giving the Same Resume to Every Company
You want to make sure that your resume is targeted to the company and the job that you are applying for. Every job is a little bit different so you want to make sure that the skills that you highlight are applicable to that job. Each company has a different work ethic and different priorities, too. Make sure that you have taken the time to learn as much about the company that you are applying for a job at as possible.
Making Your Resume Too Long
The resume is just the first step in hiring a new employee so employers don’t want to spend 15 minutes reading a tomb. Keep it focused and to the point. Two pages are usually enough to bring across your most valuable skills that pertain to the job that you want to get.
Making Your Resume Too Short
While a resume that is too long is unlikely to get read, a resume that is too short suggests that you don’t have enough experience and skills to do the job. Or, they might think that you are just too lazy to put together a complete resume. That’s a sure sign that you are not the right person for the job!
Missing Contact Information
You should make it as easy as possible for employers to contact you. Include your full name, your address, a home phone number and a cell phone number, and an email address. Make sure the email address you use is professional. Avoid “[email protected]” type of emails.
Poor Grammar and Spelling
You don’t want to look like you missed the last few years of high school. Your resume needs to be impeccable when it comes to grammar and spelling. Proofread it yourself but have someone else proofread it for you, too. And then proofread it again. Even if you paid someone to write a resume for you, proofreading is still something you should do. I once had a student bring me a resume that she paid $50 for and I found several spelling mistakes!
Not Being Specific Enough
Most people put things like, “Provides great customer service” on their resume. And because most people put that on their resume, it tends to be discounted by employers. However, the person that puts something like, “Received the award for Best Customer Service two years in a row at XYZ Company” will have valid and helpful information. Where ever you can, be specific and provide concrete details about your skills.
Leaving Out the Results
Many people focus on the things that they did at previous jobs. This is good but when you include the result, employers will be more impressed. Include numbers and statistics whenever you can to quantify your claims about your contributions. Avoid being vague whenever possible.
Ignoring the Layout
If you think that layout is not important, you’re wrong. Employers are rushed when they are screening potential employees and if you give them a resume that has all of your information crammed into one or two pages with very few blank lines and margins that are almost non-existent, it might not even get read. Resumes need to have white space and easily identifiable headings. Make your resume easy to skim so that employers can find the most important information right away.
You don’t need scented paper or colored paper to stand out. You don’t need a cute logo or a fancy design. Just let your qualifications speak for themselves. Cuteness translates to unprofessional.
Leaving Unanswered Questions
Have you worked a lot of jobs over the past few years? Moved around a lot? Not been working? If you don’t address those concerns immediately, they may not bother bringing you in for an interview so you can explain them unless there is something really special about your skills (and let’s be honest – there likely isn’t). Include a summary of a couple lines at the bottom of the resume and explain your unanswered questions here. You may want to consult a professional.
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